Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 16:10:34 -0500
Black Radical Congress To Convene In Chicago In June 1998
By Herb Boyd, 29 January 1998
There is nothing new about Black Americans coming together to challenge social and political inequities. Such organized efforts have been common since colonial times. But what distinguishes the recent call by a coterie of progressive Black intellectuals and activists is the extent to which they are mindful of the past and willing to apply new vision and action to age-old problems.
"We are interested in mobilizing not only concerned and informed activists," said Barbara Ransby at a recent meeting in New York City of members of the Black Radical Congress, of which she is a founder, "but we are seeking those who are unaffiliated and want to do something about the deplorable conditions that limit their lives and aspirations."
Ransby, a writer and teacher who lives in Chicago, said that the Black Radical Congress (BRC) is a "nonsectarian, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic with an internationalist perspective. We don't want to create a hostile atmosphere that might impede folks from joining us. Our approach is to erect a big tent for big conversations."
For several months now members of the BRC, including such noted activists and scholars as Manning Marable, Abdul Alkalimat, Bill Fletcher and Leith Mullings, have been meeting in various cities with some hundred other associates to hammer out a program and agenda for social and political change.
"Its time for a revival of the militant spirit of resistance that our people have always possessed," said Alkalimat, echoing words from the Congress call. "Now is the time to rebuild a strong, uncompromising movement for human rights, full employment and self-determination. Now is the time for a new Black radicalism."
To this end, the BRC is planning a major congress in Chicago, June 19-21. The group also plans to have a number of related events leading up to the congress at sites around the nation.
"Our stories, especially those of our youth who are daily under attack, need to be told," said Joanna Fernandez, a BRC supporter and member of the International Socialist Organization. "For far too long now a radical voice for young people has been muffled, stripped from our memory. The BRC can help provide direction on this and other pertinent political issues."
Among those who have endorsed the BRCs call are Amiri and Amina Baraka, Marian Kramer of the National Welfare Rights Union, historian Robin Kelley, economist Julianne Malveaux, Adolph Reed of the Labor Party, Cornel West, and Charlene Mitchell, co-chair, Committees of Correspondence.
If you desire more information on the BRC and upcoming events, contact The Black Radical Congress (Local Organizing Committee), 2840 Broadway, #273, NY, 10025, (212) 969-8001.
The Struggle Continues: Setting A Black Liberation Agenda for the 21st Century
General Information: Herb Boyd
Website: TBWT Web Team